Covid-19 Safety Measures: Your Legal Rights (and Ethical Duty)
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge changes to our everyday lives. While some of the safety measures instituted to stop the crisis may seem silly or overly strict, they are actually saving lives and important to stop the curve. Let’s go through what the rules are, and what you need to do to protect your employees and customers.
Essential Versus Non-Essential Businesses
First, it is important to determine whether or not your business is an essential or a non-essential business. Essential businesses are those that are allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further limits on what an essential business is may be instituted by the city or county.
Non-essential businesses must close their facilities unless absolutely necessary. However, many businesses may be able to operate remotely.
Safety Measures For Essential Businesses
If you are an essential business, you are required by the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration to keep your business free of hazards (which includes COVID-19).
You can follow guidelines issued by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and OSHA to help keep your business safe. Some of the guidelines issued by both organizations address the following:
- Social distancing rules
- How to protect sick employees
- Face masks and other personal protective equipment
- Sanitization and disinfecting procedures
- Providing administrative resources to your employees
- Safety features, like sneeze guards and other physical barriers
- Ventilation systems
- Accommodations for people with pre-existing conditions or people in other high-risk groups
- Preventing transmission between employees
- Preventing transmission between customers and employees
There are tons of resources out there to help you manage safety during the quarantine. Just do your research and be very careful. That way you will be able to protect the health of your employees, your customers and their families.
Working From Home
Many non-essential businesses can be operated remotely, with the employees working from home. That is great for your employees and for your customers.
Allowing your employees to work from home helps protect them from the virus, and helps prevent it from spreading. That way, the curve will continue to flatten and you will be back in the office sooner than later.
Sick Days and Leave
Some of your employees will have to take sick days during the COVID-19 quarantine, either because they contract the virus or simply have another illness.
No matter what type of business you have, you should allow your employees to take sick days to prevent the spread of the virus and to prevent them from getting sicker.
COVID-19 Safety Measures Are Important To Maintain
The COVID-19 safety measures are extremely important to make sure our society can go back to normal as quickly as possible. Following the above rules specifically is important legally and ethically. They are not as difficult as you think!